Decades of conflict and strife have torn Iraq apart. While sectarian violence and international war wreaked havoc on the land, more than 100,000 Iraqi people were killed and two million were displaced.
In a place hostile to Christianity, reaching out with the Gospel is no easy task. Relationships must be formed, trust must be earned, and the right to engage in people’s lives must come first. In Northern Iraq, an area called Kurdistan, World Orphans is reaching out to a hurting community of orphans and widows in hopes of doing just that.
This area, known as the Freedom Martyr’s Village, was established by the Kurdistan Regional Government as a refuge for those families whose relatives died at the hand of Saddam Hussein.
While these families have new homes, housing continues to be a problem for the thousands of Kurds returning to the area. Squatter homes surround Freedom Martyr’s Village and serve as a reminder of the continued desperation of the Iraqi people.
Few Western aid organizations have been able to help, but in March 2009, the local Iraqi government gave World Orphans an acre of land in the center of the village. World Orphans is reaching out to the people of the Freedom Martyr’s Village by constructing The Refuge. It will be a place that enables local believers (and overseas short-term teams) to display their faith by their deeds; a place where the witness inherent in the love and care of orphans and widows is seen by the surrounding community. It will be a place where the love given us is shared with those in need; a place where, by the grace of God, obedience to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment happens. We seek to love our God, love our neighbor and make disciples.
Watch our video to learn more about our work in Iraq. (*Warning: some graphic war footage/photos in the first 1:45*)